PH startups take part in second batch of ‘Take Off’ program

By Rizal Raoul Reyes

United Kingdom-based consulting group Tholons has stressed that an emerging startup ecosystem will be a key growth driver of the digital economy, especially in developing countries like the Philippines.

Photo shows (from left) Synerbyte president and CEO and Spring.ph mentor Cliff Eala, KMC Solutions chairman and co-founder Gregory Kittelson, InnoVantage CEO Gian De La Rama, Qwikwire CEO Elross Pangue, Palengkero CEO Arthur Amurao, Fetch Valet CEO Martin Luchangco, Talkpush CEO Max Armbruster, Titanium Technologies CEO Jerry Tieng, Sinitic CEO Curtis Matlock, uHoo CEO Dustin Onghanseng, MyKuya COO Farouk Meralli, iParent Portal CEO Paul Lim, and IBPAP president and CEO Rey Untal

As far as the Philippines is concerned, the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) and Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) have been active in supporting programs to enhance the opportunities of the startups.

In 2016, DTI launched the Startup Ecosystem Development Program (SEDP) which aims to foster linkages among MSMEs (micro, small and medium enterprises) and strengthen collaborative networks within the ecosystem, creating high-growth and high-impact startups that will nurture innovation, sustain economic growth, and generate large-scale employment opportunities.

Meanwhile, the IT and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) launched their program called “Takeoff” to promote the development of startups.

“Takeoff aims to nurture local startups by supporting their products and services, linking them with top IT-BPM top executives and decision makers, and opening their doors to the right network for mentorship, funding and future growth,” the IBPAP said in a statement.

In the first event, ten companies, from an AI-assisted HR solutions platform to a service that matches patients with doctors, presented before an audience consisting of CEOs from various IT-BPM verticals, such as those in the software and game development sectors.

The second program, recently held on June 6, featured ten new startups:

1. Fetch Valet — Fetch is an innovative company that offers professional parking solutions to our clients, including on-demand valet parking service and offsite parking solutions.

2. InnoVantage — It enterprise AI solutions that give clients’ customer and employee service agents superpowers.

3. iParentPortal — Turns school IDs into an RFID cashless wallet and gate pass, partnering with schools to provide RFID systems integrated with web and mobile applications.

4. MyKuya — MyKuya app can match on-demand with Kuyas and Ates nearby and have them do your daily errands.

5. Palengkero — A Web platform where users can order wet market products online, have their items delivered at their doorsteps within a two hour tie frame.

6. Qwikwire — It’s an enterprise solution for business in the Philippines, helping companies bill & collect payments coming from outside the Philippines. Qwickwire services small-medium BPOs, real estate developers, & banks.

7. Sinitic — Sinitic automates multilingual customer support with the SiniticAI natural language processing engine. Sinitic delivers 60% automation rates and 11% higher language accuracy for the eGaming and BPO industries.

8. Talkpush — It’s a recruitment CRM which integrates with Facebook pages and different sourcing channels. The Talkpush CRM communicates with candidates via chatbot that sources and pre-screen thousands of candidates.

9. Titanium Technologies — MyShuttle (under Titanium Technologies) eliminates employees’ pain points in their daily commute — queuing, payments, and timely arrival. Titanium Technologies takes care of online booking, with fixed departure times, and payment through salary deduction.

10. uHoo — It’s an indoor air sensor that helps you enhance staff wellbeing and productivity, obtain green building credits, save energy and comply with workplace health and safety.

Prior to the event, IBPAP provided the participating start-ups with mentorship through a hosted dinner with Xurpas CEO Nix Nolledo and Endeavour managing director Manny Ayala.

The event offered a unique chance for the startups to receive guidance and learn best practices on presenting their business’ potential for high growth and disruptive innovation.

“That [Takeoff] experience took our mindset to the next level after hearing the industry’s perspective on entrepreneurship,” said Theon Puyat, CEO of InteliQas, one of the startups that presented last February.

The other start-ups such as AIDE, CloudSwyft, Avail.at, TripClub, Cloud-based Learning, Employee Rewards, and Business Travels are working on different partnerships with some of the BPO companies.

“Takeoff” is scheduled to be held four times this year, accommodating 40 startup companies in total.

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